In light of Dior’s ongoing studies concerning aging’s effects on skin, we polled some of the city’s experts to learn what happens to our skin’s tone and texture as we grow older and how the local climate impacts those changes. As early as our 20s, the production of the collagen and elastin that keep our skin plump and supple begins to decline, as does the skin’s natural ability to exfoliate and repair daily damage. While the hands of time steadily age the skin, the pros say that visible changes—such as wrinkles, sagging, uneven pigmentation, enlarged pores, and rough texture—are also dramatically affected by our surroundings. The number-one environmental ager is ultraviolet light, followed by cigarette smoke, says cosmetic surgeon Dr. Steven Davis (Davis Cosmetic Plastic Surgery, 1916 Rte. 70 E., Ste. 1, Cherry Hill, NJ, 856-424-1700).
According to Dr. Susan Taylor of Society Hill Dermatology (932 Pine St., 215-829-6861), our urban environment also contributes to the aging of our skin. “The American Lung Association ranks Philadelphia as the 11th-worst American city for year-round particle pollution,” she says. “That pollution generates free radicals, which accelerate aging by breaking down collagen and elastin beneath the surface of the skin and lead to fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging.” Fighting these often-imperceptible agers means establishing an anti-aging skincare routine, as well as committing to a lifestyle that supports youthful skin. “The foundation of your environmental defense is UV protection every day,” says Dr. Kathy Rumer, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon based in Ardmore (105 Ardmore Ave., Ardmore, 855-782-5665). “It’s also living a healthy lifestyle. That means good nutrition, avoiding exposure to sun and environmental pollution, starting a good skincare routine with Retin-A, exfoliating, and hydrating your skin using vitamin C products.”
When it comes to stocking your anti-aging arsenal, both Davis and Rumer suggest new products containing growth factors, which strengthen the skin’s framework by boosting the production of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. And classic anti-agers like retinol, vitamin C, and alpha hydroxy acid continue to be utilized in powerful new formulas, says Taylor. Davis—who has his own product line, Davis Rx—recently created a sunscreen that’s popular with his patients. It has a broad-spectrum SPF formula and the antioxidant protection of vitamins C and E and ferulic acid. The best news of all: While it’s never too early to start an environmental defense regimen, the experts say that technological and product advances mean you really can see results at any age.